Peter Weir's 'The Way Back' garners partners

Nat Geo and Imagenation Abu Dhabi board

LONDON -- National Geographic Entertainment and Imagenation Abu Dhabi is teaming with Exclusive Media Group and Spitfire Pictures to produce Peter Weir's “The Way Back.”

The high profile project, scripted by Weir from the story of a real-life escape from a Siberian gulag in the 1940s, marks the first movie to attract backing from the $100 million movie fund set up by National Geographic Entertainment and Imagenation Abu Dhabi in October last year.

The duo established the fund to develop, produce, finance and acquire 10 to 15 films in the next five years.

The adventure movie will star Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Saoirse Ronan and Colin Farrell and chronicles the escape of a small group of multi-national prisoners from a Siberian gulag in 1940 and their epic journey over thousands of miles across five hostile countries. It is currently shooting in Bulgaria.

L.A. based Spitfire Pictures is producing for parent company Exclusive Media Group, the global film entertainment group backed by the strategic investment group Cyrte Investments.

EMG combines Spitfire, London-based Hammer Films and Exclusive Film Distribution. Exclusive Film Distribution is handling worldwide sales and distribution for the film.

Imagenation Abu Dhabi CEO Edward Borgerding said: "We couldn’t think of a better and more prestigious first project for the partnership between National Geographic and Imagenation Abu Dhabi. Peter Weir is one of the great directors working today."

National Geographic Films chairman Jake Eberts said the novel by Slavomir Rawicz which the script is inspired by, has long been considered an adventurer's adventure.

"Translated into 25 languages, it has the classic man-against-nature structure, but it also deals with man’s inhumanity toward one another, man’s capacity to help other men, and man’s ability to forgive but not to forget," Eberts said.

Exclusive Media Group co-chairman and co-CEO Nigel Sinclair said: "My colleague Guy East, Jake Eberts and I have a long and happy history of working on movies together, and we are proud and excited to have Tim Kelly and Adam Leipzig at National Geographic and Mohamed Khalaf Al-Mazrouei and Edward Borgerding at Imagenation Abu Dhabi as partners on Peter’s film."
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